The Hidden Health Risks of Food Dyes | EatingWell

By

Milton Stokes, M.P.H., R.D.
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How bad is Red 40 and more synthetic dyes?

Americans are now eating five times as much food dye as we did in 1955. That statistic isn’t as surprising when you consider that since then food dyes have made more and more of our foods colorful-from breakfast cereals to ice creams. While natural colorants made from foods like beets are available, many manufacturers opt for synthetic dyes-which may have dangerous health consequences, particularly for children, according to a recent report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This is why the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based consumer-watchdog group has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban them. Such man-made food dyes appear in ingredient lists as a name of a color with a number following it: Blue 1 and 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 and 6.

The three most widely used culprits-Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40-contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer.

Research has also associated food dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A U.S. study published in Science found that when children who scored high on a scale measuring hyperactivity consumed a food-dye blend they performed worse on tests that measured their ability to recall images than when they drank a placebo. A 2007 British study found that children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive behavior within an hour of consumption. (These children had not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.) The results, published in The Lancet, prompted Britain’s Food Standards Agency to encourage manufacturers to find

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http://www.eatingwell.com/article/16442/the-hidden-health-risks-of-food-dyes/

Dragon’s blood is not a magical concoction but a real ingredient in medicine, incense, and more. By Magda Origjanska

The so-called modern pagans frequently come upon “dragon’s blood” as one of the ingredients needed for their rituals. The name of this substance signifies the blood of a mythical, flying creature that, according to many stories, performs wonders and heals even the sorest of wounds and most grievous illnesses. Surprisingly, dragon’s blood is not only “real” but also has been used since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye.

In some medieval encyclopedias, dragon’s blood is mentioned as the actual blood of dragons or elephants who perished in mortal combat.

In reality, dragon’s blood is actually a resin harvested from various plant species such as Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang, and Pterocarpus. Its main feature is the red pigment that lends it the name dragon’s blood.

According to the book “Modern Herbal” by Maud Grieve, published in 1931, “The berries are the size of a cherry and pointed. When ripe they are covered with a reddish, resinous substance which is separated in several ways, the most satisfactory being by steaming, or by shaking or rubbing in coarse, canvas bags. An inferior kind is obtained by boiling the fruits to obtain a decoction after they have undergone the second process. The product may come to market in beads, joined as if forming a necklace, and covered with leaves … or in small, round sticks about 18 inches long, packed in leaves and strips of cane. Other varieties are found in irregular lumps, or in a reddish powder. They are known as lump, stick, reed, tear, or saucer Dragon’s Blood.”

Dracaena draco leaves showing dragon’s blood pigment at the base. The red pigment, called “dragon’s blood,” is said to have been used on Stradivarius violins. Photographed in the gardens of Lotusland—in Montecito, near Santa Barbara in southern California. Author: Sharktopus. CC BY-SA 3.0

Historical records of the Romans and Greeks also note Dracaena cinnabari, a byproduct of the cinnabar tree that was found on an island in the Indian Ocean. The resin of Dracaena species, the “authentic” dragon’s blood, and the extremely poisonous mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) were often confused by the ancient Romans. The types of dragon’s blood derived from different species were also hardly distinguished from one another in ancient China.

Dragon’s blood, powdered pigment or apothecary’s grade and roughly crushed incense. Author: Andy Dingley CC BY-SA 3.0

The pigment in the tree’s gum has numerous uses, including as a dye and also as a colorant in cosmetics. Some women used the powder in a ritual that was supposed to attract a marriage proposal. They would write their lover’s name on a tiny piece of paper, then their own name on the top, sprinkle it with some dragon’s blood, and fold it. Afterwards, they threw it onto burning charcoal while saying a prayer.

Dragon’s Blood Tree Author Rod Waddington. CC by 2.0

In the 18th century, dragon’s blood was used as a varnish for Italian violin makers. Moreover, there was a recipe for a toothpaste containing dragon’s blood. In India, it has been used in ceremonies for face painting or as a red varnish for wooden furniture. Another use of it was coloring the surface of writing paper, especially the decorative type that was used for weddings and during Chinese New Year.

In New Orleans voodoo and American hoodoo folk magic, it is used for attracting money or love and often as an incense that cleanses space and casts away negative energies. It is also added to ink to make “dragon’s blood ink,” a substance used to inscribe magical seals and talismans.

Dragon’s blood from Dracaena cinnabari. Sanguis draconis, Dracaena cinnabari. Author: Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivod. CC BY-SA 3.0

The vibrant red color explains why dragon’s blood refers to the element of fire, and it’s often used in rituals that involve fire, heat, or power. In some traditions of folk magic, the resin is blended until it turns to oil. The oil of dragon’s blood is then applied to one’s wrists in order to

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/03/09/dragons-blood-2/